What's commencement season without the obligatory controversy over prayer, or -- in the case of Northfield High School -- one teacher's religious theories?
Northfield High School math department chair Doug Bengston was selected by the senior class to give the commencement address, which included:
I don't believe the earth, the planets, and the solar system just happened. I believe there is one overall. As you watch the miracle of a newborn baby, I don't believe it all just happens.
So I tried to gain that inner contentment that only comes from the one above. He designed me, my brain, my heart, and all that I am. And all he's looking for is love. I'd like to leave you with some verses from the good book that help explains my thoughts.
Bengston then read from the Bible. Griff Wigley, who writes Locally Grown Northfield, says he's heard no public reaction to the speech, the audio of which he's posted on his web site.
KYMN has the entire commencement posted here.
Oh, golly, why should there be any public reaction? Everybody has been trained by their participation on the internet that when some flamer starts ranting about how the universe should focus on how his/her particular pet theory is central to the continuation of the universe they should just roll their eyes and go do something else with their brain. It's very disheartening that the insistence of fundamentalist religious nuts on a public parade of their illogical tenets has now devalued Christianity into a joke ranked with alien abductions or belief in the Loch Ness monster.
Crowepps I think you're on the cusp of it. Religions ARE exactly as ridiculous in their claims as alien abductions and the Loch Ness monster.
We can only hope that the youths who were the target of this ideology are intelligent and free-thinking enough to come away with their own deductions, rather than follow the "word" blindly like so many sadly do.
All religions have a basis in myth. Unfortunately, there will always be a certain sector of the population that chooses to focus on the myth as reality, not understanding that it is metaphor meant for people living in the bronze age.
And while extensive scientific research has failed to prove the existence of a beasty in Loch Ness, the scientific method of hypnosis does leave some question as to the verity of claims of alien abduction.
If the senior class chose him for this address, I would imagine they know him well enough to have anticipated what he would say. I hope they appreciated his sincere good wishes for their future.
I read the bicycle discussion, where the overall theme seemed to be, "we should be kind to each other and try to get along."
Then I read this entry, where a teacher said he believed we were created to love our creator and each other. (based on the quoted passage) The discussion here seems overtly negative, with words like "nuts", "ridiculous", "blindly", "sadly".
I find that bemusing.
I appreciated Joanna's comment. The class probably chose him to speak because of his dealings with them and not because he was nuts or sad.
I don't have time to listen to the whole speech, but I hope that most of it dealt with the graduates and their future. I agree with those that said that the students probably knew what they were getting when they ask this teacher to speak. Of course sometimes people given a chance to speak in public before a large gathering simply decide to speak of what is important to them and not what is important to those who invited them to speak.
I remember my High School graduation (1979) and the speech given by the 1st year superintendent that inexplicably focused on someone who would enter the high school not the coming fall but the one after that and graduate as a member of the class of 1984. There wasn't even any reference to Orwell as a reason for dwelling on 1984. It was just a complete disconnect from the event he was speaking at.
Bob, there's been a great deal of citizen reaction to the speech on our blog: 43 comments (pro, con, mixed) and counting to the post at:
It's that there's been no public reaction yet from the Northield School District yet (eg. superintendent, high school principal, board, etc).